Curated Environments and Amenities
The Fjord Trail is being designed as a visitation management solution, as well as a beautiful linear park
The Fjord Trail's 7.5-mile main trail will be a consistent thread that unites the many visually and ecologically powerful places along its route. The main trail will make it possible to walk, wheel, run, and ride between and among the landscape's sublime features — from the river's edge, to the highlands, to the forest, to the marsh. Simultaneously, the Fjord Trail will address existing pedestrian, cyclist, and motorist safety concerns and help coordinate and manage visitation and its impacts on the area. Initial planning for the Fjord Trail includes the main trail, plus meanders, connectors, amenities, a Visitor Center at Dutchess Manor, and more.
The Fjord Trail will feature much-needed amenities like garbage and recycling receptacles along the length of the trail, and restrooms at Dockside Park (Cold Spring), Little Stony Point, Breakneck Ridge, Notch, and Long Dock Park (Beacon). These amenities will be managed by HHFT, Inc. and will address the existing need for these services. The trail will also incorporate convenient bicycle tune-up stations and bike racks. Wayfinding signage at key locations will help orchestrate and direct users to appropriate destinations. Sidewalks from train to trail will help keep pedestrians off neighborhood streets and dangerous Route 9D!
Connectors are where the Fjord Trail intersects and links up with other regional trail networks in the Hudson Highlands State Park, creating infinite ways to experience the beauty of the Highlands and enabling loops, multiple trips, and varied itineraries.
On June 30, 2023, HHFT completed work on the first of these connectors: the Breakneck Ridge Trailhead and Upper Overlook. Part of the more comprehensive Breakneck Connector & Bridge phase, this work will connect the Fjord Trail to the super-steep Breakneck Ridge—one of the most popular hikes in the United States.
The Fjord Trail's meanders, or spur and loop trails, will offer moments of immersion, contemplation, and exploration via off-shoots from the shared space of the Main Trail. Connecting to significant places along it's route, meanders may be small, quick departures from the Main Trail to see a view or shoreline, longer rambling walks, or even kayak trips along the Greenway Water Trail that create new ways to traverse the Fjord Trail landscape. The planned meanders will create space for people of different ages and abilities to engage the wider landscape, and to have a different experience each time they visit the trail.
Trail banks are planned as wider spaces along the trail that will allow trail users to step off the path and rest, sit, or experience something special in the landscape. Trail banks range in size depending on how they are intended to be used: smaller banks are ideal for one or two people, while larger banks will allow for gathering. The trail banks along the main trail will create off-trail space for folks to pause, but will do so with clear edges and boundaries to limit access to the more sensitive areas beyond the trail.
Breakneck Bridge & Overlooks
The hike up Breakneck Ridge is not for everyone, but everyone should have the chance to enjoy the stupendous views along this stretch of the Hudson River. Those views will be provided—at a generous scale!—by the vantage point from the Upper and Lower Breakneck Overlooks, which are part of Phase 1 of the project.
In addition to being the relocated trailhead for hikers seeking to experience Breakneck, the Upper Overlook will include a stewards’ station and information booth. And very importantly, it will get hikers off the road, with hiker congestion along State Route 9D and on residential streets of Cold Spring being among the community concerns that the Fjord Trail will alleviate.
Restrooms, a connector trail to the Breakneck train station, and a kid-friendly rock scramble will be located near this section of the trail. The Lower Overlook will provide direct river access and connection to the Shoreline Trail, an entirely waterfront promenade between Breakneck and Dockside Park in Cold Spring.
Visitor Center at Dutchess Manor
The historic location known as Dutchess Manor will be Hudson Highland Fjord Trail’s headquarters, with a visitor center, restrooms, and public programming. Located almost exactly at the mid-point of the trail's 7.5-mile route, the Visitor Center will be an orienting-hub for visitors, help draw them north of more heavily trafficked areas, and provide the trail's largest parking lot.
HHFT commissioned a historic property report to understand the property's past, and a reuse study to determine next steps for restoring the building and repurposing it in ways that honor this Hudson Valley landmark. Read the press release about Dutchess Manor here.
Parking and Shuttle Service
Plans for the Fjord Trail include four new parking lots, equipped with smart-technology, which will make nearly 500 parking spots available north of the Village of Cold Spring. This will decrease side-street parking, and lessen the impacts—both in terms of congestion and carbon emissions—of vehicles searching for parking throughout the project area.
New parking is planned at Notch, Dutchess Manor, Breakneck Ridge, and Little Stony Point.
The trail will also feature a shuttle van system, which will allow users to park in one area and visit another, or visit different sections of the trail without using their vehicles. It will also allow those arriving by train to quickly access a different destination and begin their journey there.
Header Rendering: SCAPE Landscape Architecture
'Amenities' Rendering: Gray Organschi Architecture
'Connectors' Rendering: SCAPE Landscape Architecture
'Parking' Photography: Steve DiMatteo
'Meanders' and 'Trail Banks' Photography: Meredith Heuer
Illustration: Donna Calcavecchio